Paul’s Ministry Characterized

I hold very stern opinions with regard to Christian men who have fallen into gross sin. I rejoice that they may be truly converted, and may be mingled with hope and caution received into the church; but I question, gravely question whether a man who has grossly sinned should be v … More

Ministry

Paul’s ministry in Thessalonica was characterized as being free of three things:

  1. It was free of flattery - Paul never tried to flatter people (v. 5). Rather than seeking something for himself he delighted in giving to others freely. It has been said that a flatterer is a person who manipulates rather than communicates. He may use either truth or lies to achieve his goals, which usually is to control your decisions for his own profit. It is disgusting to me to hear someone try to “butter up” another person. Never tell people what they want to hear in order to get what you want to get. Be honest about what you say!
  2. It was free of covetousness (v. 5). Evidently all three of these missionaries had been accursed of being in Thessalonica for personal gain. No doubt this criticism came from false teachers who knew their own hearts very well. It was not anything new for religious leaders to take advantage of people financially in those days. The same is true among some religious hucksters today. Usually these people are not financially accountable to anyone. They are the Jim Bakers of our day.
  3. It was free of self-glory - (v. 6). Paul was in Thessalonica to glorify God, not himself. A true minister of the Gospel deals honestly with sin and judgment and leaves the unbeliever with nothing to boast of in himself. Paul had obtained the honor of men, but he never looked for the praise from men.

Application

I need to be on guard so I will not fall prey to flattery, covetousness or self glory. Many people who know the word better than I do have fallen before me. Only the Lord is able to keep me from falling.

I Thessalonians 2:5-6 (English Standard Version)

For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed--God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »